WHEELING - Halfway through a court hearing Thursday at which he was to plead guilty to sexual assault, 27-year-old Charles Seamon rejected an offer from the prosecution and refused to admit to allegations he impregnated a 14-year-old girl.
An Ohio County grand jury indicted Seamon in September on two counts of third-degree sexual assault.
According to the terms of the proposed plea agreement, the Wheeling man would plead guilty Thursday to one of those counts, and in exchange the prosecution would dismiss the other.
Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak was going to recommend at a later hearing that the judge sentence Seamon to one to five years in prison. Seamon's attorney, Chief Public Defender Shayne Welling, was expected to lobby for alternative sentencing.
The state would not oppose Seamon's parole after he served one year in prison but he would have to register a sex offender for life.
Circuit Judge David Sims explained to Seamon all of the rights he had but would be forfeiting if he accepted the plea agreement.
When the judge asked Seamon whether he still wished to continue, Seamon said nothing.
After a few moments of silence, Sims asked Welling whether he wanted to confer with his client. Seamon and Welling then adjourned to the jury room and spoke privately.
They returned to the courtroom after about five minutes and Welling informed the judge that Seamon was not going to accept the plea agreement.
Both parties requested the court keep a copy of the agreement on file, however.
"Mr. Seamon's having some second thoughts on it and appears to be not necessarily committed to the idea." Welling said. "Just based on his hesitancy, I would feel better just furthering discussions. I don't want him to feel forced or coerced into this."
A pre-trial hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 1 in front of Sims. Turak said sheriff's Lt. Joe Cuchta will testify about Seamon's confession to the crime during that proceeding. The trial is scheduled for Nov. 11. Seamon remains free on bond.
The girl and her mother found out in late May that the teen was pregnant. She has since given birth. Based upon the girl's disclosure that she has had sex only with Seamon, it is believed that he fathered the child.
In an interview with Child Protective Services and Cuchta, Seamon reportedly admitted that he and the girl engaged in sexual intercourse multiple times and acknowledged that he is the father.
The two had sex at a Fairmont Avenue residence, Seamon said, where he and the juvenile lived with their respective mothers.